Author Topic: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study: UPDATE  (Read 7020 times)

LadyStache in Baja

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Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study: UPDATE
« on: August 24, 2016, 09:15:17 AM »
4 kids, 4 and under.  Exhausted by the constant redirecting that is necessary at this age.  Also exhausted by the grind of trying to cook, clean, and do laundry while simultaneously keeping the kids out of trouble.

Feeling disappointed that I'm not enjoying my kids, in fact I just wish there were less of them, or that I had full-time help to deal with them.

Also run a farm.  I don't need to work all day at it, but I need to check-in daily and delegate tasks and make sure things are on schedule, ideal 2-3 hours/day.

Edited to add $ info: Our average income is about $40,000 pesos/month.  And our average expenses are $24,000 pesos/month (that includes preschool, but no baby-care).

The 3 oldest are in preschool/kindergarten, for which we pay $3500 pesos/month total.  They attend from 8:30 to 1.  It's pretty affordable and happens to be the best private school in the area.  We plan on sending them to private for at least all of primary because we think that public school here is a shit show. 

The youngest is only 18 months.  My options for him are:

1. Pay someone $4000 pesos/month to watch him 8-2
2. Take him with me to work (what I've done up til now.)  He's more of a toddler than a baby, which makes it more difficult because he walks and gets into things.  It's doable, but really frustrating.
3. Pay someone only part time, to watch him 8:20 - 11.  ($1600/month)

Other thoughts:
1. Pay someone on Saturday to watch all the kids for 6-8 hours $800/month.  Kills two birds with one stone: I don't have to be with the kids all day Saturday, and I get one day with no kids to do whatever I need to do.
2. Just deal with my own kids, but get household help to help with cooking, cleaning, and laundry. ($4000/month).
3. Hire someone as after-school care for 3 hours ($2000/month).  This one actually sounds pretty good.  I could do housework (cooking cleaning and laundry while the big kids are at school and baby is no trouble in my baby-proofed house.  Then when kids get home from school, I could do my out-of-house farm-work.  Several birds gone with one relatively cheap stone). 

Ok, now for the existential crisis part:
What I like most about the last option is that it maximizes the amount of time I'm not with my kids.  Which makes me feel terrible for wanting that.  They're my kids after all, and I had them!  In my defense, by the time my youngest, and 4th, child was born, my oldest was only 3.  And I love babies.  They didn't get sucky for me until they turned 3.  So I had them all before I knew what I was getting into.  I loved the idea of a big family.  But I didn't take into account that I'm an introvert and I love being alone.  Babies make you feel alone.  3+ are nonstop chatterboxes and I just want everyone to be quiet and get away from me!

So I'm an introvert that doesn't like people, who now lives with 5 other people.  And I feel terrible for wanting to be away from my sweet adorable children AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.  Face punch if you like, but there's nothing we can do about this now.  We can only make it better going forward.  So do I:

1. go ahead and maximize my time away from them
2. learn to like being with them better?  retrain myself, reframe my perspective so that I enjoy being with my kids?

Is it possible that #2 will happen when I do #1?

What about all the times people say:
--they're only young once
--I miss those little hands and feet
--they grow so fast
--you'll wish they were little again

If I do #1 (maximize time away), will I regret it?  Or is it possible that not everyone's going to love 3-5 year olds, and I should protect my sanity now, and enjoy an awesome relationship when they're a little older, like 7+?

Being a parent feels so momentous.  You only get one set of kids, usually.  I just don't want to fuck this up and then be old and kicking myself for not appreciating these days more.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 09:56:19 AM by LadyStache in Baja »

okits

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2016, 09:31:09 AM »
Very possibly, getting some time away from your kids will increase how much you value and appreciate the time you do spend with them (#2 will lead to #1).  It sounds like you want childcare so you can earn income, cook, clean, and do laundry; all very necessary things and hardly a reason to feel guilt, IMO. 

What is your partner's opinion?  Are you financially squeezed in any way?

Little kids are adorable, delightful, but can be very taxing.  It's possible to love them but also feel overwhelmed and depleted by their needs.  None of your options sound harmful to them, so pick whichever one you can afford that appeals to you most.

snacky

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2016, 09:34:43 AM »
I like my kids more when I'm not constantly with them. I need to be someone other than mama at least part of the time, and have a break from the constant need. Try any of your ideas, see if it works, adjust if needed, and carry on. You might feel like a monster for wanting a break from them but YOU ARE NOT. 

Miss Piggy

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2016, 09:38:29 AM »
As a non-mother by choice (not sure why I feel the need to say that...maybe just take my advice with a grain of salt...), I recommend trying the least expensive option first and seeing if that gets you what you need. If not, you can move to one of the more expensive approaches.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2016, 09:47:54 AM »
Don’t worry about what other people say. Seriously. They are not the one raising 4 under 4 in your unique circumstances.  I think you should go with the option that sounds most desirable to you. Your kids are hardly going to be harmed if you hire some help for a couple hours after school.  Chances are, you will be a better parent for it because you won’t be so fried and stressed out all the time.
My daughter is entering the toddler phase and it is unbelievably exhausting. In many ways it is harder than when she was a newborn and we were waking up every 2 hours to breastfeed. At least newborns sleep a ton and can’t get into anything. Toddlers and the 3-4 crowd are adorable, but they can also be complete nightmares sometimes. And you have multiple! Go easy on yourself. There is a reason many families space their kids a few years apart - it's just extremely hard to manage a gaggle of very young kids. I used to be certain that I wanted 3-4 kids (yes even during the sleep deprived early months after the baby was born), but now that my little is a toddler I find myself thinking two is a much better idea!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2016, 09:55:38 AM by little_brown_dog »

MayDay

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2016, 09:48:02 AM »
Check out my journal.  I've recently been reflecting that I hate children and am a "bad" mom, ie not nurturing, and loving every minute and blah blah blah. 

I was SO SO SO glad when mine were both in full day school.  SO GLAD. 

I hate summer because they are underfoot all the time and talking or fighting constantly and I just want PEACE AND QUIET.

When they are around all the time I am just annoyed and sick of them constantly and I don't appreciate them. 

So obviously I am placing an emphatic vote for whatever makes you sane.

ETA:  My daughter went to 3 days of sleepaway camp, and I was SHOCKED at how much more pleasant and fun to be around my son was when he was the only kid.  Like I honestly wistfully wished we had just one kid, which I have never ever felt before.  So one option might be to get the after school sitter, and for part of the afternoon, take one older kid with you to do a "big kid" chore that you can have them "help" you with.  Just for like 30 minutes, so you still get plenty of alone time.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2016, 09:50:41 AM by MayDay »

tonysemail

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2016, 10:31:00 AM »
I was SHOCKED at how much more pleasant and fun to be around my son was when he was the only kid. 

I had a very similar experience this summer. 
we planned separate summer vacations where I took my son and my wife took my daughter.
it was quite amazing to see the difference in behavior when travelling alone vs with a sibling.
much less whining and more helping than I expected.

Kapiira

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2016, 10:43:03 AM »
I am also an introvert that had some difficulty with my kids' younger years.  Mine are 6 and 9 now and are so much easier and more enjoyable.  Pay for the help you need to maintain your sanity.  It's possible you'll only need it for a few years and it's likely to make you (and therefore your family) much happier.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2016, 10:54:24 AM »
Feeling disappointed that I'm not enjoying my kids, in fact I just wish there were less of them, or that I had full-time help to deal with them.

...
Ok, now for the existential crisis part:
What I like most about the last option is that it maximizes the amount of time I'm not with my kids.  Which makes me feel terrible for wanting that.  They're my kids after all, and I had them!
...
1. go ahead and maximize my time away from them
2. learn to like being with them better?  retrain myself, reframe my perspective so that I enjoy being with my kids?

Go ahead and do one and work on two if you'd like, but I would say don't worry about it at all.

You don't HAVE to feel a certain way, and it's ridiculous to think you should, and there is no reason at all to feel bad about spending time away from your kids, or thinking that you have to spend time with children just because they are yours.

Just for an example, take a page from how European aristocracy would raise their children: wet-nurses and nannies, governesses, and then off to boarding school.

They knew how to live the life of leisure :)

honeybbq

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2016, 11:00:18 AM »
1. 4 kids under 4 AND running farm is MEDAL worthy. Seriously.

2. Do whatever it is to get your sanity. I could consider the time they are home full time before they are in school to be crazy/make it work/do whatever it takes to maintain YOUR sanity. A happy momma is a happy family.

3. Whether it's expensive or not, it's short term til the kiddos are all in school. So pick whatever option you are happiest with. You need time ALONE, too. Don't forget that!

imustachemystash

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2016, 11:03:16 AM »
Looking at your income vs. expenses, you have the financial flexibility to make whatever choice you want.  Yay!  Make the decision on what you want the most.  And don't worry, once they are all in school your sanity may return. 

slappy

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2016, 11:05:47 AM »
I have no advice, but thank you for this post! I only have one child and I'm working a ton a hours right now just to pay the bills. So I feel guilty for working and missing time with him, but the time I do spend with him can be somewhat challenging because he's 2 and his favorite word is no. So thank you and others who have shared for making me feel less alone during this challenging time.

GuitarStv

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2016, 11:09:35 AM »
Anyone who told you that kids are there for you to enjoy lied.  They're a pain in the ass and a lot of work.  Different stages of childhoood are more tolerable than others, but sometimes you will need time away from them.

MsPeacock

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2016, 11:23:10 AM »
I was SHOCKED at how much more pleasant and fun to be around my son was when he was the only kid. 

I had a very similar experience this summer. 
we planned separate summer vacations where I took my son and my wife took my daughter.
it was quite amazing to see the difference in behavior when travelling alone vs with a sibling.
much less whining and more helping than I expected.

Same here. My ,kids get along well overall (two boys age 9 and 13) in that they don't physically fight and such. But the nagging and the big one picking on the little one and the bickering and the.... So much nicer when I have just one of them. Only happens one week per year.

OP - little kids are hard and super needy. It is physically and emotionally exhausted. They don't leave much room to even have a thought to yourself when they are small. Don't feel bad that you feel this way. I think it is actually pretty common. Are you getting enough sleep? I personally opted for some help with both housework and kids - you can hire these amazingly accomplished energetic womEn who manage to wrangle kids and clean and everything and you can go do whatever you need/want to do. It will be easier once your kids are school age, but that is a ways off for you.

TrMama

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2016, 11:31:11 AM »
I'm also an introvert, although I only had 2 kids. When they were 2 and 4 I went back to work full time and put them in daycare. I was so, so thrilled to pay 50% of my salary towards their care. I love them dearly, but holy cow are preschoolers exhausting.

Do whatever you need to do to maintain your sanity. None of your options are permanent, so if it doesn't work out, you can change it up. Plus, you will like spending time with them more when that time is optional, rather than mandatory.

Also, spending time with them will be more fun when they get older and are less needy. My kids are 7 and 9 now and I quite like hanging out with them. We can have real conversations, I'm not responsible for their bodily functions and they still think I hung the moon.

fiveoh

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2016, 11:54:52 AM »
I have no advice, but thank you for this post! I only have one child and I'm working a ton a hours right now just to pay the bills. So I feel guilty for working and missing time with him, but the time I do spend with him can be somewhat challenging because he's 2 and his favorite word is no. So thank you and others who have shared for making me feel less alone during this challenging time.

This ^^

Spiffy

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2016, 12:15:50 PM »
Don't feel bad. I think a lot of us don't like admitting that our kids are annoying. I am still waiting for my kids to be good company, but it hasn't happened yet and the oldest is 14. Those people that brag about how awesome their kids are and say how much they love spending time with them are probably lying. I didn't go back to work until the youngest started 2nd grade. It wasn't always easy or fun, but I wanted to raise my own children. I'm glad I did that, but I am also glad that part is over. I am jealous of all my friends whose kids are in collage now. I had my kids a little late and I feel like I will be too old to enjoy life once they move out. OK- sorry for the ramble.

CheapskateWife

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2016, 12:21:57 PM »
Oh god....Mom guilt...aren't we supposed to be past this?

Seriously, put me down for a vote for whatever keeps you sane.  There are lots of horrible stories out there about moms who just straight up crack under the pressure of raising their kids and managing whatever expectations.  You have to do what is good for you and them, and whatever keeps you from being one of those stories on the news.  So if you need some help, get some help; and dump the mom guilt...its just so unproductive.

Now go smooch your babies and hire you some extra hands around the Casa. 

KCM5

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2016, 12:27:44 PM »
You have 4 kids under 5? Someone give you a medal. And some household/childcare help (of your choosing).

Seriously, pick whichever one of your options you like the best (I'd go with afterschool care myself) and see if it helps. I'll bet dollars to donuts that you'll enjoy spending time with your kids more after a few weeks of it. And I like the suggestion to take one of the older kids for a few minutes of one on one time. They're more fun when there's only one and they feel like they're getting some special time, even if that special time is just riding bikes in the driveway or running an errand.

Also, little kids are exhausting. Don't be too hard on yourself.

RosieTR

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2016, 12:28:28 PM »
Here's another aspect nobody has mentioned:

Children often benefit from having more loving adults in their lives. They will get something from the babysitter that they won't get from their parents. A different perspective, someone with a different energy, etc. Not only will you feel better having some time to yourself to get tasks done, and be a better parent when you're with the kids, but the kids will also get something out of having a different person interacting with them.  In other areas and at other times in human history, the kids would have been in groups of mixed ages, with a variety of aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents/siblings/other tribe members watching them. This construct of a single parent (usually mother) staying at home with children is pretty recent and localized to the wealthier west. No wonder many mothers are exhausted and irritated at their children! It's totally unnatural for humans to have family structures this way.

And definitely you will like being around the kids more when you're not around them all the time! Everything is like this. For example, if you ate your favorite food morning, noon and night you'd get sick of it...it's much more noticeable and pleasant when it's in limited quantities. If you enjoy the time you do have with the kids now, your memories later of when they were little will be that much better, and you'll be able to remember them with joy rather than feeling like you didn't appreciate them at the time.


dkaid

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2016, 12:46:56 PM »
Here's another aspect nobody has mentioned:

Children often benefit from having more loving adults in their lives. They will get something from the babysitter that they won't get from their parents. A different perspective, someone with a different energy, etc. Not only will you feel better having some time to yourself to get tasks done, and be a better parent when you're with the kids, but the kids will also get something out of having a different person interacting with them.  In other areas and at other times in human history, the kids would have been in groups of mixed ages, with a variety of aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents/siblings/other tribe members watching them. This construct of a single parent (usually mother) staying at home with children is pretty recent and localized to the wealthier west. No wonder many mothers are exhausted and irritated at their children! It's totally unnatural for humans to have family structures this way.

And definitely you will like being around the kids more when you're not around them all the time! Everything is like this. For example, if you ate your favorite food morning, noon and night you'd get sick of it...it's much more noticeable and pleasant when it's in limited quantities. If you enjoy the time you do have with the kids now, your memories later of when they were little will be that much better, and you'll be able to remember them with joy rather than feeling like you didn't appreciate them at the time.



Yes to this!  We've had some great sitters in my kids lives and they are better because of it.  And the sitter can get all the game playing/dress up/ whatever out of their system so to speak so that you don't feel the pressure to do that with them and they still have the chance to do it. 

I love the honesty of this thread. 

Lucky Girl

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2016, 12:48:31 PM »
Chiming in with the others who said thanks for posting, and also, you deserve a medal!

I have two kids age 6 and 3 and am an introvert as well.  I work full time, and sometime feel guilty about not wanting to spend more time, and not enjoying the time I get to spend, with my kids.  Yesterday I was doing the usual routine--pick them both up by 5:30 pm, get dinner on the table by about 6:15, keep them from killing each other till 7:15, and then get them to bath and bed.  I just couldn't wait to get them to bed!  And was so angry with DH for being late to come home (he arrived at about 7:30 pm).  Took me two hours after they were in bed to decompress from it all, and then I get to do it all again today. 

I am considering doing the SAHM gig, but won't do it until they are both in school full time, and even then I am worried about picking them up at 3 pm and having them both underfoot until bedtime.  Hope that by the time the youngest is 5 or 6 he is easier to manage.

We all need to remind each other--its okay to get help, you need to take time for yourself, and being a great mom does not mean being with your kids every moment!

Good luck!

RetiredAt63

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2016, 02:41:56 PM »
All the above, plus "it takes a village" so mama isn't totally exhausted.  How can you enjoy them when you are run off your feet?  You are basically working 3 jobs right now.

Dicey

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2016, 10:09:34 AM »
Ladystache, yours is a journal I had lost track of. So glad I "found" you again!

Some background: my only-child mother married my Catholic father and they planned to have a big family. After losing twins born at seven months (so sad), they went on to have six kids in nine years. I am the oldest. I am childless, primarily because I didn't find a husband until I was 54. Sure, I could have become a single mom, but I always knew I was way too selfish to go down that path alone ;-)

If a mom is unhappy in her life, every child knows it. You need to take reasonable steps to find a happy balance. Manage your family as you do the farm. Outsource what you can and manage the rest to your strengths.

Our town had one of those infamous American Indian boarding schools. Most Saturdays, mom would go and pick up a teenage girl who served as a mother's helper for the day. We settled on one particular girl. Getting to know Diana was a wonderful experience for us kids and a huge relief for my mom. I'm sure mom was just grasping for any straw of affordable sanity, not intending to enrich our lives. Surprise! She did both.

Your farm has thrived because you learned and adapted. Chose any of the options on your list - or even one you haven't thought of yet - today. Keep chosing until you hit on the best combination. Worry just a little less about the expense. If it saves your sanity, it's worth it. There's no point in getting to FIRE without your sanity or your family. Eventually your kids will grow and your life will smooth out.

Just know this:

Everyone's happier when Mama's happy.

Edited to fix the wonky font. I was trying to shout. Now I am. Feels much better now.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 05:47:02 PM by Diane C »

Futtee

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2016, 10:29:38 AM »
Good LORD I cannot imagine having 4 children under 4.  I have 2 boys, 18 months apart, and decided not to put them in camps this summer.  Boy was that a mistake.  Lesson learned.  I am also sending my youngest to full-day preschool instead of the free 2 hour preschool.  Totally unMustachian, but I have learned that I will be a BETTER mom if I have more time for myself.  And it will be better for the whole family.

So, do what you need to do to be a better mom because it's the QUALITY of the time you spend with your kids that is important, and not the quantity.  No.  Guilt.  Allowed!!!

SKL-HOU

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2016, 10:40:37 AM »
Keeping your sanity is the best thing you can do for your kids. Do what you need to and as much as you can afford to. It will only be for a few more years. The great thing is you have 4 kids that can entertain each other pretty soon.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2016, 09:13:06 PM »
Thanks so much for the support!!  I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone.  And I love GuitarStv for saying
Anyone who told you that kids are there for you to enjoy lied.  They're a pain in the ass and a lot of work.  Different stages of childhoood are more tolerable than others, but sometimes you will need time away from them.
Somehow that was very reassuring.  All of you were very reassuring.  I guess I have this idea of "women before" and how they didn't need nannies.  Or how the nannies themselves don't need nannies.  And that makes me feel less than.  But then I thought, hey, if I lived near my family, I'm the only one with kids.  So I'd have my bro and sis and mom around to help.  And when they have kids, mine will be older, so then I'll be able to help.  So really help is "natural" and not some modern-day yuppie complainypants thing.  If anything is unnatural, its that we don't live on the same block we grew up at.

So I tried the after-school care method today.  It was definitely awesome.  I had the house mostly to myself, just me and the baby all morning (9-1), and I cleaned, laundered, and cooked.  Before going to pick up the 3-ring circus from preschool at 1, I threw dinner in the InstaPot.

I loved picking the boys up, dropping them at home, kissing them with so much love, and scooting right back out the door!  :D

Then when I got home from the farm, dinner was ready, DH got home, and after dinner I just relaxed with the kids because all the housework was done.  ahhhh.

So yes, I'll do this again tomorrow, and I'll continue weighing my options and tweaking, and I think it's gonna get better from here on out. 

Gizsuat2

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2016, 10:06:35 PM »
Try to let go of the guilt, if you can.  You're tired and exhausted so who knows if that's how you really feel.  And even if you do really feel that way, hey hey you're trying to make the best of it so go you!

I've written about this in response to other posts, but the single biggest sanity saver I have is sticking with a consistent quiet time.  I get a solid 1.5-2 hours of alone time every afternoon while my youngest naps and my oldest plays with a "quiet time box."  I gathered every single shoe box, substantial tupperware, organizing bin, etc., and doled out the toys I had on rotation into each, little loose parts, and yes I ordered some stuff on amazon for them (worth every damn penny).  My oldest only gets to play with the box during quiet time.  The boxes take some work and upkeep but it's 100% worth it to me so that I get that break.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2016, 09:18:36 AM »
Somehow that was very reassuring.  All of you were very reassuring.  I guess I have this idea of "women before" and how they didn't need nannies.  Or how the nannies themselves don't need nannies.  And that makes me feel less than.

Yah they didn’t need to hire nannies because they were in villages or large extended families where other adults were present to help out. I don’t know of a single culture anywhere (modernized or subsistence) where a mother watches 4 kids all by herself, day in and day out, while simultaneously farming and doing life chores. In subsistence cultures there is always a family or community member (grandma, aunt, older sibling, neighbor) around to grab a baby or watch the kids for a little bit.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 09:20:52 AM by little_brown_dog »

norabird

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2016, 10:32:12 AM »
So glad you're going to spend more to get the life you need. No judgment!

mm1970

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2016, 01:25:01 PM »
Anyone who told you that kids are there for you to enjoy lied.  They're a pain in the ass and a lot of work.  Different stages of childhoood are more tolerable than others, but sometimes you will need time away from them.

THIS!!

And you need time away that is NOT being at work.

marion10

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2016, 01:37:30 PM »
[

Yah they didnít need to hire nannies because they were in villages or large extended families where other adults were present to help out. I donít know of a single culture anywhere (modernized or subsistence) where a mother watches 4 kids all by herself, day in and day out, while simultaneously farming and doing life chores. In subsistence cultures there is always a family or community member (grandma, aunt, older sibling, neighbor) around to grab a baby or watch the kids for a little bit.
[/quote]

Exactly- for example, my FIL was one of 9 boys on a farm. His grandmother lived with the family AND they had a hired girl come in.

hollyluja

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2016, 05:01:24 PM »
As a fellow introvert, I'm at my happiest when we hire a mother's helper type to play with the kids with me there.  I can watch them play and talk to them while I get stuff done, but I'm not the sole focus of their intense attention needs.

It's cheaper than a full-blown nanny/babysitter, and often can be someone young enough to genuinely enjoy playing on the floor with them in a way that I have limited patience for.   Win-win!

ltt

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2016, 12:48:18 PM »
I have 4 kids--12 and older, but know the absolute time crunch you are under in getting things done.  This is what I would do.

As your "older" kids are in pre-K/K from 8:30 - 1, I would get someone to watch your 18-month old from 8-2 and, hopefully, the person has a driver's license and can transport or walk your older kids to pre-K/K and back home---however, it would have to be someone that you totally trust, like a grandparent.

Then, I would make the most of those hours by getting the farm work done, (2-3 hours); prep work/cooking ahead of time for that evening's dinner and the next evening, (1, possibly 2, hours); Clean a room or two/pick up house/laundry (1 or 2 hours); run errands, banking, pay bills, yard work, etc. (1 hour+ a day).  Six hours sounds like a lot of time to get things done during the day, but it's not.  Use Friday to prep some easy meals for the weekend that you can reheat for the kids.

This would free up your weekends to spend with your children.


gaja

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2016, 06:29:18 AM »
You mention that you live with 5 people, but what does that fifth person do to help you get alone time? Can you leave the house and go for a walk in the evening? Can you take a nap after dinner?

As to liking to spend time with kids: I only have two, but they are only a year apart. I will always treasure the memory of the night they both slept until 7, and the first time they played together alone for one whole hour without fighting. Life changed completely when they turned five, and now at 8 and 9 they are turning into people it is possible to have a conversation with. Also, they are turning into introverts, so we often spend hours sitting in different rooms being alone together.

Neustache

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2016, 07:04:16 AM »
4 under 4! That's a rough spot - you are not going to enjoy that all of the time (or even most of it).  It's natural, don't worry about it!

I'm going to go with how you can reframe, because it's not either/or on 1 or 2, it's both/and. 

Get the extra alone time you crave, but then also proactively teach them so independence comes sooner rather than later.  I, by the way, was horrible at this.  LOL.

To decrease neediness, list out the things they need from you regularly that you have to do for them.  If you have that list, then we can go from there on ways you can focus your work on working yourself out of that job.  Hopefully with the alone time you get from adding some time away from all of them, you will have the energy to do this!

An example:

Have 4 cups, each one is theirs only, that are eye level to them and they can get themselves.  Teach older two how to get water from faucet carefully (step stool, etc.) Have a snack, reachable, that they can have whenever they want.  For us, it's carrots or apples in the fridge.  Alternately, my friend keeps each kid's water bottles filled and on the kitchen table at all times, so they never ask for water from her.  I have yet to implement, but my kids are older and I only have two (she has four). 

That may not be an issue for you, but I find constantly having kids come up to me asking for water/snacks/etc. drives me batty.  So my advice is to figure out what exactly is making you feel constantly needed, and work yourself out of that job somehow.  If you list out all the things you don't currently have a way out of, we can brainstorm how to make it easier.

In the meantime, take the time off.  Sounds like it's working beautifully! 

Mongoose

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2016, 10:00:31 PM »
[

Yah they didnít need to hire nannies because they were in villages or large extended families where other adults were present to help out. I donít know of a single culture anywhere (modernized or subsistence) where a mother watches 4 kids all by herself, day in and day out, while simultaneously farming and doing life chores. In subsistence cultures there is always a family or community member (grandma, aunt, older sibling, neighbor) around to grab a baby or watch the kids for a little bit.

+ 1 billion to this. The whole nuclear family is out on their own is bunk. If you don't live near family, definitely purchase the "luxury" of what is really a normal human society.

And definitely anything you can do to help them become independent is great. Bonus, most kids are eager to jump in if they get to be "big". We specifically got our fridge because each kid could have a door shelf. I can put in a full glass of juice and they can get themselves a drink. We have stools liberally around the house so they can reach things. I specifically taught them how to use a stool so they wouldn't climb on furniture. We keep Dixie cups in the bathroom so emergency drinks can be obtained. Healthy snacks are kept on the lowest pantry shelf. My 5 year old is quite independent and his big sibling got that way too. YMMV but hopefully the kids can pitch in too (my kids even 'get' to sweep and mop..what fun?).

Definitely sounds like you're on the right track with the after school help. A happy Momma in the evening enjoying the kids is way better than stressed out Momma all day long!

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2016, 09:55:59 AM »
Update:

I just wanted to update this thread to help out anybody else out there who's thinking about getting more help.

Do it. 

They always say, "you can't pour from an empty cup", and "self-care" and on and on, and, yes, it's true.

I've been going pretty steady with the after-school care.  And I asked my mom if she'd like to send baby to a really lovely Waldorf school 3 days a week.  So when baby is gone, I go to the farm in the mornings, come home do housework or watch Netflix (!), and then babysitter comes for 3 hours of after-school care. 

I feel human again.  I love my babies again.  I'm not totally dreading anytime I have to be with them.  I have time to work on my business, my house, and time to just fuck around and day-dream.

So all that BS about your kids are only young once and it goes so fast......Fuck that advice.  Bad advice.  Leads to depression if you ask me!

Get help so you can enjoy this time, even if that means throwing off your savings rate for a few years....because it is only a few years when their neediness is totally overwhelming.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study: UPDATE
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2016, 10:00:26 AM »
I am glad it is working for you :) And I completely agree.

GuitarStv

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2016, 10:04:30 AM »
So all that BS about your kids are only young once and it goes so fast......Fuck that advice.  Bad advice.  Leads to depression if you ask me!

One of my favorite comics said that having kids is a lot like smoking.  For about five minutes every couple hours you just want to cradle one in your hands lovingly, and the other 95% of the time you're spending all your time thinking about how they're going to fucking kill you.

:P

mm1970

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Re: Existential Angst of Parenthood/Case Study
« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2016, 10:41:49 AM »
So all that BS about your kids are only young once and it goes so fast......Fuck that advice.  Bad advice.  Leads to depression if you ask me!

One of my favorite comics said that having kids is a lot like smoking.  For about five minutes every couple hours you just want to cradle one in your hands lovingly, and the other 95% of the time you're spending all your time thinking about how they're going to fucking kill you.

:P
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